Bill is "First Step" in dealing with Immigration, Security Problems
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) today hailed the signing into law by President George W. Bush of legislation to construct an extension of a fence along the United States’ border with Mexico. The bill, HR 6061, the Secure Fence Act of 2006, was passed by the Congress at the end of last month.
"I am really pleased that the Congress passed, and the President has signed, HR 6061. This legislation will help us to make sure that we take care of the number one priority in our immigration and security problems – controlling our borders," said McKeon.
Under HR 6061, a physical security fence will be established at key points along the U.S. – Mexico border. In addition to the actual fence, a variety of high tech sensors, enhanced manpower and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) will help to cover unsecured areas, creating a "virtual fence."
"We are combing the best of our technology and our highly trained personnel with a pretty straightforward security precaution to help solve the most basic problem facing our nation. Unless and until we get a handle on the border, nothing else we do in terms of immigration, security and domestic anti-terrorism policy will make much difference," added McKeon.
Estimates are that as many as 12 million illegal immigrants currently reside in the United States, with more coming across the border each day. In December of 2005, the House of Representatives passed a comprehensive immigration reform package that placed an emphasis on security and tougher enforcement. The Senate failed to act on the House measure. Subsequently, the House and Senate passed those provisions of the House immigration bill that could garner bi-partisan support, including the border fence bill.
"Of course I am disappointed that the Senate failed to pass the House bill. Still, I am confident that we are moving in the right direction and I believe that we will finally resolve the immigration issue with legislation next year. Tough enforcement is absolutely critical and the Border Fence bill is Exhibit A that the Congress and the country recognize that fact," said McKeon.
HR 6061 passed the House on September 14 by 283 to 138, with 131 Democrats opposing the measure